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David Shelton named new Senators head baseball coach
 January 10, 2014

MORRISTOWN, Tenn. – For 14 years, the Walters State baseball program had one man leading it to new heights. On Thursday, the Senators saw another changing of the guard.

Following Hall of Fame coach Ken Campbell’s retirement this summer, long-time assistant coach Joey Seaver was tabbed as his replacement. Less than six months later, Seaver has taken a job with the Texas Rangers, and another long-time assistant coach will get his opportunity at his dream job.

Associate head coach David Shelton, who has spent the past decade helping Campbell and Seaver assemble a nationally recognized program, was named Walters State’s new head coach on Thursday, bringing him to the head of a program that he has played a major role in making a household name in the junior college ranks.

“I’m excited, and I feel like this is a golden opportunity to carry on the tradition the coaches before me have built,” Shelton said. “Coach Campbell, Coach Seaver and even back to Coach Bill Gardner, they all have laid a pretty solid foundation. Being here 10 years and all the experiences we have had – we have been to Grand Junction four times and won a national title – those have molded me into whatever coach I will be. Hopefully it works out successfully. I want to continue the success we have had both on and off the field and mold these guys into men.”

Shelton now has his opportunity to put the stamp on the Senators program, and the administration at Walters State feels like he is the perfect person to lead the team into the 2014 season and beyond.

“I’m pleased to announce that David Shelton, our current associate head baseball coach, has agreed to be the new head coach of our Senators baseball team,” said Dr. Wade B. McCamey, president of Walters State. “David’s 10 years of experience as a Senators assistant coach, his extensive knowledge of the game, and his strong rapport with our student-athletes make him an ideal person to lead our nationally acclaimed baseball program.”

Shelton takes over for Joey Seaver, who became head coach in August after serving 14 years as pitching coach. Seaver was named to the Arizona League Texas Rangers coaching staff as the pitching coach on Wednesday. Seaver, who also played two years for the Senators and has been a part of each of the six World Series teams in program history, leaves without coaching a single regular season game as head coach.

“We greatly appreciate Joey Seaver’s many contributions to our baseball program, both as a Senators baseball player and a coach, and we wish him all the best in his new position with the Texas Rangers,” said McCamey.

Shelton came to Walters State in 2003 after spending five years as an assistant coach at East Tennessee State University. A native of Erwin, he played his collegiate baseball at Milligan College where his is still among the career leaders in many offensive categories.

Shelton has served as recruiting coordinator at WSCC while coaching the position players and hitters. During his stint at the school, he has recruited and coached more than 50 players that have gone on to be drafted by Major League teams. He also serves as an associate scout for the Atlanta Braves.

“David knows the Senators baseball program extremely well, and he is one of the top recruiters in the country,” said Dr. Foster Chason, vice president for student affairs and director of athletics. “Over 50 players that he has recruited to the Senators program have been drafted by Major League Baseball teams. David’s also an outstanding coach and individual who is committed to the success of our student-athletes, both on the field and in the classroom.”

Shelton, who has coached under Campbell, Seaver and current ETSU head coach Tony Skole, said he has learned a lot from coaching under them. He also will draw on his playing experience under Unicoi County High School coach Charlie Baxter as another reference for his now head coaching career.

“I owe everything to Coach Campbell. He gave me my first opportunity at ETSU,” Shelton said. “We stayed in touch when he left to become the coach here, and I worked for 5 years with Coach Skole at ETSU. I’ve learned a lot from both of them. I learned a lot with Coach Seaver, just from being his assistant this fall. I played for Charlie Baxter at Unicoi County, who is one of the best high school coaches in the country in my opinion. I’ve been extremely fortunate to play and work for some great coaches.”

Shelton admitted there have been some anxious moments after being named head coach with only three weeks until the season starts, but his time with Campbell has made him ready to take on the role.

“Working with Coach Campbell all those years, he did such a great job of teaching me and helping me learn every aspect of this program,” Shelton said. “I think that will help ease the transition. There is a little nervousness because we are 21 days away from leaving for our first game, but I think the responsibility he put on me as an assistant coach has helped me tremendously.”

As for goals or his coaching style, Shelton said nothing would change. He will still coach the same way he always has, and he wants to get the Senators to Grand Junction for the JUCO World Series each year.

“This has been an extremely successful program. You would be hard pressed to find a program that has had our success the last 15 years,” Shelton said. “My goal every year will stay the same. We want to get to Grand Junction and win a national championship. I think we have done a good job of pushing our kids towards that in the past, and those kids come here wanting to win. I don’t see myself changing a lot from the way I was. I can’t coach like Coach Campbell or Coach Seaver. My personality is the way I coach, and to a certain extent, I know I have to be stern. I also want to be a player’s coach. I want kids to say this was the best time of my life.”

Shelton also thanked the administration at Walters State for their trust in him to take over the program. He also noted he is looking forward to working with assistant coach Justin Pickett to keep the winning tradition alive.

“I want to thank the administration, Dr. McCamey and Dr. Chason for believing in me and giving me this opportunity,” Shelton said. “I am looking forward to working with Coach Pickett to try and build on the tradition and success we have had here.”

Shelton is married to the former Stefanie Reynolds, who is the head women’s golf coach at ETSU. They reside in Fall Branch with their son, Dalton Ryan.

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